Fiction Series: The Meeting - Part 1
The wait seems unbearable. I’ve been coming to this coffee shop daily for three months, same story every day: chocolate, almond scone; caramel macchiato frappe---30-minute wait. I usually don’t mind. The extra time affords me time to think but today… today, the lapse in service is throwing off my routine, allowing my mind to wander. I come here to escape and fall into different fantasies. However, all I can seem to think about today is Crystal. I shake my head in an attempt to erase the images. I try to focus my attention on barista.
“How much longer?” I check my watch. “Are you guys growing the beans today?”
“Just a minute Ty. We had a nasty spill. Your order should be up soon.” Overwhelmed with emotion and thoughts of Crystal, I sigh. “You know what… keep it. I’ll see you guys tomorrow.” As I’m headed back to my seat to gather my things the door chimes.
Her smile arrives before she does. It was stunning. She wasn’t dressed particularly fashionable; distressed jeans and a black hoodie; but, there was something magnetic about her. As she turned to greet someone she catches me staring at her, locked in her aura. She smirks. I fumble my belongings trying to regain my composure.
“Chocolate scone and caramel macchiato frappe, sir?” The barista moves to place my order on the table in front of me but I’m so flustered I turn knocking him and the serving tray over. “I’m so sorry Ed. I just… I’m just…” I let out an embarrassed laugh. “I’ll take another one.” I help Ed with the mess and retake my seat trying to figure out how this woman threw me off balance with one look. This is unchartered territory for me. I haven’t so much as looked at another woman since Crystal. I definitely hadn’t had the courage to speak.
I start the 30-minute wait over again. This time it’s working in my favor, buying me time. I try to be a little more discrete as I steal glances at her this time. Different scenarios begin to play in my head as I prepare to approach her. My nerves kick up and a bead of sweat rolls down my neck to my back. How is it possible to be bothered by one exchange? My emotions must be written on my forehead because we lock eyes again and she seems puzzled, concerned. If there were any moment to seize, this was it. I leave all of the scenarios at the table and walk over to her with a smile. My smile is met by her grin.
“Hi, I’m Tyson.”
I laugh. “Tyson, I’m Genesis.” I extend my hand. “My people call me Gen.” He looks at my hand suspiciously. “I promise I don’t bite.” He takes it, gently.
“I didn’t think you… I mean—I wasn’t---Hi, I’m Tyson.”
I laugh again. “Right and I’m Gen. I’m glad we covered that.” I ignore my best friend as she rolls her eyes and continues writing in her planner. I stare at him, eyebrows raised but he doesn’t say anything. “Okay, so… did you need something?”
He’s about to respond when my order is called. “Chamomile tea with honey? Uh-Gen?” I smile softly and move around him. When I return with my tea he’s still standing there waiting for me. “Tyson, this is getting weird. You have to speak.” I giggle at what seems to be a temporary inability to form words. I’m used to men being shy but they usually recover much quicker than Tyson is right now. I patiently watch him as he sorts through the thoughts in his mind. My smile never wavers.
He shakes his head. “Yeah, I just wanted to introduce myself and…”
“She’s not interested.” My best friend interrupts him slamming her planner closed and dropping it in her bag. I shoot a look her way. “Alexis, don’t be mean.” She rolls her eyes. “What? You’re not.” She adjusts her bag on her shoulder and spins around. “Whatever, I’ll be outside.” She gives Tyson the onceover before smirking and heading towards the door. “She’s really NOT interested.” Tyson clears his throat.
“Oh my God! Excuse her, she’s rude… and protective.” I laugh. My voice is tender. “What were you saying?”
He licks his lips and smooths his shirt. “Uh yeah, I just wanted to introduce myself. Genesis, you are---. You are…“ He pauses. His face goes blank again. I wave my hand in an attempt to regain his attention. “I am…” I look at him in anticipation. The door chimes and Alexis pokes her head inside. “Gen, we’re going to be late for our meeting with the promoters.” I nod my head towards her, waving her off.
“Yeah, sorry. Do you come here often?” He’s with me, again.
“Yeah, our studios are just up the block. I have to go. This was… interesting.” I move my hair from my shoulder and tuck it behind my ear. He follows every move with his eyes.
“Maybe I’ll see you again.” He looks at me wishfully.
“Tyson, you’re cute but…”
“You’re really not interested?”
“I’m really not interested. It was nice meeting you though.”
I smile and lower my head as I turn on my heels and head towards the door. As I push it open Alexis is standing there with a smug look on her face. “I don’t know why you even let these men think they have a chance.”
“Shut up, he was sweet---a lot different from what I’m used to. Did you see how he could barely speak?” I sip my tea as we walk towards our studios. Alexis and I own a building just a short walk from the coffee shop. Her spa is next door to my yoga studio.
“Yeah, it’s the ones that can’t speak you have to look out for.” She laughs as she scrolls through messages on her phone. “Do you think we’re to expand?”
“Of course, we’ve been working on this launch for---shit!” I stop walking. “I left my sweater back in the coffee shop. I’ll be…” As I turn around I hear my name.
“Genesis.” Tyson is walking quickly in my direction. I start towards him. When we reach other he’s holding my sweater and a small cup.
I smirk. “You switched to tea?”
“I saw a striking woman order one so I thought I’d try it, too.” Tyson lets out a deep breath.
“What was her name?”
The corners of his lips turn up slightly. “Gen.”